5.28.2014

Isla Vista Murders: A Case of Self-Hatred

When I first saw a picture of the murderer, I jokingly said to myself, “Maybe he couldn’t get a date because he kind of looked Asian.” It wasn’t until later that I found out he was, in fact, part Asian. Apparently, his mother is Chinese and his father is white.

Now, by itself, this little fact seems irrelevant. Any connection between this circumstance and the murders is, well, circumstantial. That is until you take the following comments into account:
“I realized, with some horror, that I wasn't ‘cool’ at all. I had a dorky hairstyle, I wore plain and uncool clothing, and I was shy and unpopular. I was always described as the shy boy in the past, but I never really thought my shyness would affect me in a negative way, until this point.

This revelation about the world, and about myself, really decreased my self-esteem. On top of this was the feeling that I was different because I am of mixed race. I am half White, half Asian, and this made me different from the normal fully-white kids that I was trying to fit in with.”

“I came across this Asian guy who was talking to a white girl. The sight of that filled me with rage. I always felt as if white girls thought less of me because I was half-Asian, but then I see this white girl at the party talking to a full-blooded Asian. I never had that kind of attention from a white girl! And white girls are the only girls I'm attracted to, especially the blondes. How could an ugly Asian attract the attention of a white girl, while a beautiful Eurasian like myself never had any attention from them? I thought with rage. I glared at them for a bit, and then decided I had been insulted enough. I angrily walked toward them and bumped the Asian guy aside, trying to act cocky and arrogant to both the boy and the girl. My drunken state got the better of me, and I almost fell over to the floor after a few minutes of this. They said something along the lines that I was very drunk and that I needed to get some water, so I angrily left them and went out to the front yard, where the main partying happened. Rage fumed inside me as I realized that I just walked away from that confrontation, so I rushed back into the house and spitefully insulted the Asian before walking outside again.”
http://aaldef.org/blog/elliot-rodgers-manifesto-shows-self-hate-fueled-anti-asian-violence-that-kicked-off-isla-vista-rampa.html

“Shoes won’t help you get white girls. White girls are disgusted by you, silly little Asian.”

“Full Asian men are disgustingly ugly and white girls would never go for you. You’re just butthurt that you were born as an asian piece of shit, so you lash out by linking these fake pictures. You even admit that you wish you were half white. You’ll never be half-white and you’ll never fulfill your dream of marrying a white woman. I suggest you jump off a bridge.”


http://www.splcenter.org/blog/2014/05/24/elliot-rodger-isla-vista-shooting-suspect-posted-racist-messages-on-misogynistic-website/
First of all, let’s address how in the last two comments the murderer was parroting the white mantra practically verbatim. Whites will deny the existence of racism tooth and nail (even when confronted with evidence of explicit racism, sometimes from the racism deniers themselves), but to be an Asian man in America is to live in a society that follows the murderer’s philosophy like it’s the fucking gospel truth. So obviously, the murderer is familiar with white racism against Asian men.

Clearly, he was racist towards Asian men despite being half-Asian himself (along with having Asian roommates and “friends,” three of whom were his first victims). This means he wasn’t just racist, he was also self-hating. Gee, I wonder if that’s important. Is it important that America infected him with so much white supremacy that he identified more as a white man and hated half of himself? Is it important that American racism ultimately led to the agonizing murders of three Asian men?

The next question is, “How did the self-hatred develop?” How did a man born to an Asian mother and a white father who both work in the notoriously racist entertainment industry of notoriously racist America and raised in an overprivileged white community end up a white supremacist? I guess we’ll never know.

I once met a young man also born to an Asian mother and a white father. He told me about how he spent his entire youth associating with “woods.” Apparently, they are some type of white power gang. The last I heard of him he was institutionalized after attempting suicide. I don’t know what role race played in his attempted suicide, but I do know this: If you’re half-Asian and you hang out with a white power gang, American racism has definitely infected you. Both the young man in my anecdote and the murderer are essentially Asian versions of the “tragic mulatto.” This is something I learned about in an essay from Chauncey Devega (http://www.chaunceydevega.com/2014/05/yes-elliot-rodger-is-white-what-santa.html). Tragic mulatto indeed. The murderer may have been genetically half-Asian, but sociologically and psychologically, he was fully white.

In addition, this whole shitstorm reminds me of a comment I once read. Basically, the writer was wondering about Asian women who marry white men because they viewed Asian men as inferior and the consequence it could have on their sons. What will these Asian mothers do if they have a son who looks more Asian than white? How can these Asian mothers protect their sons from white supremacy if the Asian women themselves are white supremacists? How can they help their sons develop a positive racial identity when they themselves lack one? Based on the events that have transpired, I don’t think the murderer’s mother did a very good job.

Originally, I had seen this shooting as a case of whites finally reaping what they sow: If you want a fucked up white supremacist society because the privilege is just too damn good, then you better choke on that blowback. That is until I saw that he had stabbed three Asian men to death. Once again, white people’s racism leads to more People of Color suffering and dying. White people and their desire for a white supremacist society led to three Asian men dying in pain. They get the privilege and we suffer the blowback. Talk about eating their cake and having it, too. Fucking great. And despite the overwhelming evidence that racism played a role in this mass murder, I doubt mainstream white America will admit or acknowledge anything. I have no faith in them whatsoever.

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Side note: I just got to address that whole wishing-to-be-half-white thing. On more than one occasion, I’ve encountered whites who actually brag about the fact that America has been able to infect some Asian men with so much white supremacy they end up wishing they were white. Whites actually use that as a racist taunt. Yes, the fact that racism in American society is so strong it can convince some People of Color to become self-hating is apparently a badge of accomplishment.

Another side note: In my first draft, I used the phrase “internalized white supremacy” when discussing the self-hatred problem. Upon review, I concluded that the passive voice just did not seem right. Therefore, I switched to the active voice: “America infects people with white supremacy.”

12 comments:

  1. Self-hate, hyper-elevated narcissism, coupled with misogyny and racism PLUS it appears he had been coddled all his short life. He was a powder-keg ready to blow. My sympathies are with the families of the people whose lives he took because he thought the world ought to cater to him.


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  2. I think both of his parents share some of the responsibility for how Elliot Rodger turned out. They had some part in him being so racist/sexist/entitled. He clearly never learned social skills or responsibility. Driving a BMW but never had a job and didn't regularly attend class. He had been getting away with his negative behavior for a long time. Instead of reaching out to Asian men for friendship he instead choose to isolate himself and think he was better than them. He deliberately chose to make Asian men his first victims out of some perverse desire to distance himself from the Asian part of his identity.

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  3. I'm really glad you and Chauncey DeVega are both discussing the Tragic Mulatto aspect, because it most assuredly applies here.

    "On top of this was the feeling that I was different because I am of mixed race. I am half White, half Asian, and this made me different from the normal fully-white kids that I was trying to fit in with" - Elliot Rodger

    Remember the night you won the internet? A mixie came on here in defense of white people (noticeably not the other side of the family) and you had...some words. There it was again, that conflict of identity, the denial of white supremacy while not-so-subtly blaming of POC. In other words: "It's not my white side that's a problem. That side could never, ever be a problem. It's my Other side. It gets in the way, it ruins my life, it holds me back, its my handicap, it makes me 'different' and triggers all those annoying conversations about inequality and discrimination and identity - if I could just get rid of my pesky Other side, my life would be peachy keen."

    This is why I don't like it when people try to make the self-loathing, wishing-to-be-white, perpetual identity crisis seem like just an "Asian/Asian-American" thing; it's not. Elliot Rodger was a Tragic Mulatto; his mother being Asian doesn't change that. He was a non-white "white boy" whose self-loathing was self-destructive, and he made sure he didn't go alone.

    Why didn't he have white roommates? I was a little surprised when I read how he kept racking up the Asian roommates; if white kids were so great, why didn't he fill his apartment with them instead? What drew him to the Asians (who couldn't wait to move out, by the way) and made him want to share a roof with them? They were the direct opposites of everything he cared about, so why repeatedly live with them?

    Rodger also said he would declare war on the (supposedly big, muscular, popular, white) men who were living better lives than he...b-b-b-b-but I thought his roommates were "dorks" and "geeks" and beneath him? Why kill them? Why rob them of their lives if they were so pathetic? Why kill them, if not to murder an aspect of his own self which he felt had robbed him of his rightful social status?

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    1. Hmmmm....It also seemed that this guy had a hate for his folks for not being wealthy (Source:CNN.com.Just look under "Elliott Rodgers family struggled with money court documents showed").

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  4. I have been avoiding articles about this pathetic subhuman, but I think what you've written and the article you linked to are amazingly on-point. I don't know if taking his rants more seriously could have prevented this (because he comes across as whiney, which is easy to ignore in this day and age). It just seems like he was showing signs of exploding for years before he actually did.

    I think he might have shacked up with those men to, in a weird sense, keep an eye on them and observe them. Were they really better than him? Who did they date/befriend? Did he have a secret admiration for them? Sometimes people, on the outside, vehemently hate what they actually like. Maybe he liked his Asian side...but saw what society thought of it and thus, developed an out-of-control hate? I don't know.

    Concerning the upbringing of half-white, half-asian kids, I'm reminded of someone I've encountered here in Taiwan. White mother (who has been here for years), Taiwanese father. When the mother was asked what she considered her child, she, without hesitation, said her child was white, not at all Taiwanese. Granted, her child could speak Chinese, but I think that's such a destructive mindset, basically grooming a child to love one side and ignore/look down on the other...

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    1. When the mother was asked what she considered her child, she, without hesitation, said her child was white, not at all Taiwanese.

      I wonder what the father thinks.

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    2. Same here, but I get the sense that, perhaps like Rodger's mother, the father probably thinks her race is superior...

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    3. Colonial mentality ladies, so goddamned deeply embedded even in this day & age.

      Aah well, least we have more in common that way.

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    4. I think that too many people got the wrong idea of what being "White" is.

      Being White isn't the same as being an actual White person. Not only are mixed raced people like Rodgers aren't genetically the same but also what it means to other countries ...especially in the states .

      The biggest mistake about being White is that you're on the same like with the full blooded White man... thinking that they are awarded the same equalities and privileges as they. In the literal sense,they are not White people because one of the parents are not White but when it comes to Whiteness, it was never about the racist White man having love of other races, the classification of the White to other minorities, it was about getting him to feel more empowered, people who they think,comes closer to them and to demolish their race. That is the trick he use when it comes to minorities. Even with some non Black mixed race people, they are still treated like second class citizens. Back in the day, Greeks, Italians and Poles ,Jews and Irish hasn't always been classified as White and though its the opposite these days with Jews, they are still seen as inferior by Whites and some Neo nazis still look down on" White Ethnics"( another reason that the White category can be tricky) .

      I remembered reading an article about two Latino girls who seemed joyful being classified as Whit but if they only knew how much the White category is another way of being used and eradicating your race. Otherwise, full blooded Latinos wouldn't be classified as minorities.

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  5. Crisp article Ballisto, refreshing to read. Collateral damage folks, that seems to be an emanation of White Supremacy. And we're all in its crossfire.

    Financial issues asides, his racism against his other side (nothing new I reckon) was paired up with contempt for the lower classes, and black people; more specifically the men. The 140-pages of drivel he called a manifesto had in places his condemnation & expressions of disgust of interracial relations. I recall a part where he describes a 'blonde white girl' and an ' inferior, ugly black boy' together, using choice words such as 'ugly black filth'.

    It's clear that African-Americans are facing a subtle war being waged on them vis-a-vis Trayvon Martin & Marissa Alexander, to name a few. Somehow I'm not terribly shocked that this 'war' (I guess the death throes of white privilege/supremacy in the face of a new world order) in the US would sooner or later involve the rest of the PoC communities.

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  6. When I first saw a picture of the murderer, I jokingly said to myself, “Maybe he couldn’t get a date because he kind of looked Asian.”

    I also wanted to mention one glaring irony with the Elliot Rodger situation. Various commentators and analysts (here's a good analysis) have repeatedly referred to him as such a good looking. So have many young various women on YouTube. Before the story fully unfolded, I noticed a lot of people actually seemed confused as to why a guy with his looks was having trouble getting laid.

    So it's like in death, he's finally the validation he always wanted in life.

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